A letter from a Querent

 

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Q: Do you think there is something like a magical person, Bob? Are some people really magical or is it an illusion we create?

A: There are mystics, who seem moved by the spirit of something ineffable and there are those who are so integrated with the world around them that they seem to make things happen. There are also those who have the unexplainable* show up in their lives at a greater frequency than normal. There are those people who seem to exude magic as though there is some unseen source of energy about them as well. There are yogis, gurus, shaman and just ordinary people who can do phenomenal and extra-ordinary things. I don’t think there are Harry Potter wizards and witches with wands and broom sticks, but there are those who seem to wield a form of magic.

One of my favorite writers of this kind of magic is Carlos Castaneda who wrote about a Yaqui shaman named Don Juan who I believed after three books was a real magician. Though the character was fictional, Castaneda wrote from what he knew and what he knew was truly magical and extra-ordinary. I have tried a number of the lessons taught in these books (they are novels not self-development books) and have found them useful both in my practice and in everyday life.

And this would be my definition of “magical”, the ability to produce and perform the extra-ordinary. Some people are very adept at that. Some are able to see things that the rest of us do not and are able to use what they see in extraordinary ways. Some have phenomenal talents that they are able to boggle the mind with. As you know I believe that within all of us there is a magic waiting to be unleashed. Some are closer to it than others, meaning they have fewer obstacles to its expression. What I write about is how to deal with and overcome some of the obstacles.

Keeping in mind my definitions and caveats, in my nonprofessional opinion my answer to your question is “yes” there are probably magical people e.g. people who wield magic.

*I use this word whenever I come up against a phenomenon that appears real, but is without any scientific corroboration, or explanation.

Good to hear from you again,

Bob

Dark Shadows: A mirror to my thoughts

I don’t often do this i.e. copy or “mirror” from another blog but the following post from the Book of Dreams Blog is perfect for the Dark Knight of the Soul as well. I hope you enjoy it and get something from it as much as I did in writing it (yes, I’m the author of both but they’re my blogs so I get to be a little narcissistic if I want, besides I couldn’t decide in which blog it belonged).

 

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Priscilla Hernández, ‘Nightmare’

A lesson from our dreams: From Plato’s Shadow World to our own

“I have often said that every person in a dream represents an aspect of the dreamer e.g. their emotional and behavioral characteristics are a mirror of your own. Though this is a truth in dreams it’s also a truth in our waking lives as well.

Each of us is mirrored* in the others that we meet. Hate a certain behavior in someone and you are seeing your own rejection of that behavior in yourself. Dismiss someone out of hand it’s probably because you don’t want to acknowledge their behavior that they reflect from yourself no matter how small it may be.

How are the people you reject just like you? How are the people you like just like you? Both reflect parts of you.

This fact leads me to compare the dream world with the waking world and helps me to see that maybe both worlds really are a dream, the sleeping dream and the waking dream. Interestingly learning to decipher each dream can help us understand ourselves better and where we fit in the overall scheme of things. Both dream worlds can act as a personal therapist and guide through the journey of our life.

Often when a dark and scary being shows up in a dream we want to run from it, hide, or verbally or physically defend ourselves vigorously. This type of dream being is known in psychology as a shadow aspect. When the shadow shows up in a dream either in the sleeping or waking world** take a break before reacting for there’s an opportunity being presented here for you to see a part of yourself that may need dealing with and perhaps modifying so that you can begin to manage the darker aspects that show up throughout life. In short, seeing others as a mirror for self-improvement and/or self-acceptance is a sign of a maturing and evolving psyche.”

_______________________

*An interesting resource that I’ve used as part of my blog comes from Justin Gammill through the following link: https://seventhrayblog.wordpress.com/author/violetflame2035/

**If you want to look deeper into this concept of the Waking Dream and how it is used therapeutically for greater self-awareness you might like to read “Life as a Waking Dream” by Diane Kennedy Pike, Riverhead Books, 1997.

It’s a strange world to live in when we sleep, but maybe it’s more real than we think.

 

 

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By.–Manuel Archain

When we fall asleep we enter a world of the unconscious where the personality, the ego-self, surrenders itself and the self-conscious barriers to reality dissolve into nothing. Suddenly we can walk through walls, traverse time in all directions and jump from one place to another without any external transportation.

Time and space seem irrelevant to this world and our individual self seems to all but disappear allowing us access to what seems to be a universal mind or the collective unconscious as Carl Jung described it.

In this world one does not have to be located in any particular place, we are neither here or there i.e. we are no longer dualistic in nature.

Here we can sift through incredible amounts of data to solve the unsolvable problems of our waking lives. We become particularly attuned to our inner body messages as well as the body messages of others we have seen, but have not been conscious of, during the day.

There is even some evidence that dreamers who are close or in some way genetically linked can meet each other in their dreams– the walls between us, what Alan Watts termed, “That skin encapsulated ego” that is us, seem to dissolve allowing for a connectivity beyond the body.

Dreams in fact seem to be a meeting place between the older archetypal self and the conscious personality. This older self is often seen as being eternal in nature with the younger self only being temporary. The conscious self seems to stop at the end of the finger tips while in a dream one can easily extend beyond this imagined or believed to be real body limit.

In our wakeful state we believe the body to have a limited range of sensory experience. This disappears when the boundaries of time and space fall away as they do in the dream state where we become transpersonal in nature. Here consciousness seems to transcend the limits of space/time. In the unconscious one seems to be nonlocal, being everywhere at the same time, a phenomenon thought to only exist in the quantum or atomic realm of reality.

There are some scientists who suggest, wonder, or imagine that consciousness itself exists in this nano-world of quantum physics and not in the body. Some suggest that our brains and bodies are more like radio receivers than transmitters. Perhaps our dreams are our link with our true nature?

If we are more than our bodies, might we then be more than that body’s limitations?

 

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By.–Manuel Archain found on the Huffington Post

Magic: Prayer, incantation, meditation

 

A reader recently commented on a posting from The Dark Knight of the Soul Blog. He noted that the reduction prayer I had used at the end of the post looked very much like a 13th century magical incantation from the Liber Medicinalis (Book of Medicine).

 

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT

BE STILL AND KNOW

BE STILL AND

BE STILL

BE

From the posting on Real Magic 

 

 

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magical incantation from the Liber Medicinalis

 

Accident? Coincidence? Not really, both the incantation and the reduction prayer act pretty much like mandalas in that they focus the mind inward towards its center. It is in this center that the wisdom of our soul lays. It is from this place that magic can happen.

 

 

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Typical mandalas

These incantations, prayers and meditative practices tend to focus on the centers of our being while removing the outward directed conscious mind that is restricted in its perception of reality and opens a door to a whole new way of being and perceiving.

This is just part of what it means to wield magic. The following is an excerpt from the Dreaming Wizard website:

12 Laws of Magic:

So what have we discovered so far about magic that might allow us to practice being in it and thus allow for a different creation within our lives?

1) Magic is all around us; we are already in it.

2) Magic cannot be controlled; in fact, we must release control in order to wield it. Magic is about “being” not “doing”. Magic cannot be understood, or controlled, because the process itself is a “doing”. Magic arises on its own and not through your manipulation.

3) Magic is a way of living and not separate from everyday experience.

4) The consciousness can open to Magic when the soul is allowed to express freely.

5) We have access to magic when we don’t place limits upon our expression.

6) To know magic, watch children at play.

7) Maintain authority over your expectations/standards by remaining at choice with your behaviors and self-expression. Be what you are, not what someone else wants you to be.

8) Magic becomes available when one dissolves the separation between ones opposite aspects and recombines them into a more functional whole e.g. dissolve the internal gender differences. Aspects of the assertive, decisive, thoughtful, creative, compassionate, emotional and intuitive can exist side by side within all of us.

9) Call out your shadows and your demons, do not suppress them. Note: you are not your negative aspects; you have negative aspects, but are not them.

10) Quiet the mind. Stop thinking things to death. Magic cannot come from the “thinking” mind. Live at least some of your life in the incomprehensible.

11) Magic does not come from the rational.

12) Magic grows from the secret orderliness of chaos. Allow yourself to be confused. Thinking that you know something about what is real can be very limiting to living what is real.

 

 

“It [magic] opens spaces that have no doors and leads

out into the open where there is no exit.”

–Carl Jung

Real Magic

 

tumblr_mftv2hFCaA1ric07zo1_400.gifMagic, or at least the image of magic is showing up everywhere. There are several new TV shows that take place in magical kingdoms or libraries and magic and wizards show up in the mainstream cinema several times a year. I’ve written an entire chapter on magic in the Dreaming Wizard website and spent several chapters in the book The Dragon’s Treasure on the subject.

In our dreams magic often symbolizes the need to shift a point of view or to approach something from a different angle. It also can symbolize wonder and awe. A magician in a dream might be saying that some problem is trickier than you thought. Through the Magus, or Magician, it is thought that one can perceive their origin, their eternal nature. Often he is an archetype for a wisdom guide.

But is there really magic?

There is a place where magic and enchantment exists, a place where all potential lies in waiting to be manifest. It is the space between your thoughts– that still quiet place where the essence of human kind resides. It is beyond the ego i.e. the personality, in a place where there is only stillness and pure awareness without judgment, or categorizing, contrasting, labeling or analyzing. If you could be in this place where you strive for nothing, where you let go of trying to control, or get power, where you let go of fear i.e. have it when you do but don’t become it, then this is where you can find magic, real magic.

In order to access the magic one needs to expand the space between their thoughts, let go of judgments and just ‘be’. Take just a moment and be still and be neither beneath nor superior to anyone. It is here that you will experience your true nature.

Try doing this when looking at another person. At first you will see the mirror to yourself. All your judgments about them are merely a reflection of you and your relationship that you have with yourself. But eventually when you allow the mind to be still, you’ll begin to see who they really are at their core and in that moment get a glimpse of yourself at your own core.

 

“Be still and know that I am God.”

–Psalm 46:10

 

Being still is not easy, the mind is constantly chattering away, judging, labeling, analyzing and the world requires a constant inner dialog as a means of handling our fear, our anxiety, and our loneliness. But the chatter masks a profound background within which the soul resides with the wisdom of the world.

The “voice” in your head, the thing that is talking to you all the time, the thing that’s saying “what voice?” right now, is of the ego that is an object-based, fear-based construct that masks the sound of the real power of the soul beneath. Don’t be fooled by the loudness and forcefulness of your mental voice because the loudness doesn’t mean power, it’s there to hide power. Real power resides beneath, between, and behind the chatter of your personality. Real power is the scriptwriter behind your actor, it is your core self, it is what you want to be in relationship with.

You want to perform magic? Be not the voice and know what you are.

 

“Sit, be still, and listen,

because you’re drunk

and we’re at

the edge of the roof.”

–Rumi

 

 

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I

Be still and know that

Be still and know

Be still and

Be still

Be

–a reduction prayer, meditation, into silence (try it! Say it slowly)

Reading and questioning the symbols can open doors into the unconscious

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A shared dream about visiting over and over again a “Hippie” village, or commune where all the houses were fanciful conglomeration of cast off parts of other houses, brought up some interesting symbols related to excess and the rejection of shared values. In this dream the dreamer entered a darkened room and saw the shadowed silhouette of a hippie lying on a sofa, drunk, or stoned. The dreamer also climbed upon a wall on the hippie’s property to get a better view. All primary symbols suggest societal mores rejection and perhaps a form of addiction. Climbing upon the wall might suggest the need for a new perhaps even higher perspective on life or some specific issue.

One of the first questions I asked of the dreamer was, “What in your life are you obsessing about?”

I also asked, “Is there something missing, e.g. some void, in your life that you’re trying to fill and that might be an inappropriate way to do it?” And finally I questioned whether there was a shadow side to their life that they might not be confronting e.g. that they may be in denial of?”

This person may very well be suppressing the concept of addiction as it may be related to their particular behavior. For example, they may not be addicted to a substance, but an action (as in a habitual response pattern), or even a way of thinking (as in a habitual negative inner dialog, or a belief that persists despite evidence to the contrary, such as a prejudice). These can be subtle in nature, yet still be important enough for the unconscious mind to shine a light on them through the dream. There are, of course, less subtle addictions e.g. sexual, porn, food, smoking, risky behavior, and etcetera.

The morals rejection part of the dream is also interesting in that it begs the question, “What societal norms are you rejecting and why?” The village in this dream is put together by the cast offs from other people’s houses (persona’s) might suggest a depressing loss of personal identity and/or the person is creating a sense of self that further alienates them from the society they live in. But it also may reflect an attempt to cobble together an identity from what they admire in those around them.

Again, the dream can be very useful toward revealing inner material that may be affecting one’s mental health and even social health. Both learning to read the symbolism and asking questions can be equally important and can bring a light into the darkness.

 

A Dream of Shadows

I stepped into the night–a lonely, frigid blackness with glowing lanterns here and there. I sighed and my breath rose into the sky and a part of me became one with the stars.

Animals came out of the inky dark to greet me–raccoon, rat, and owl.

They whispered some ancient wisdom, sharing from a place that only they could bear, dancing to a rhythm that only they could hear.

I pulled the night around my shoulders like a robe to comfort me against its emptiness.

Owl, rat, raccoon, and I walking through the night, walking toward the light of home.

–RJ Cole (2014)

Messages of hope in dark dreams

 

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The other night I had a disturbing dream where I saw a child being abducted and carried away. My heart went out and I desperately tried to recapture or save her.

On the next night I was carrying two books, one was a large book with beautiful illustrations and embellishments and the other with the word “Hope” emblazoned on the dust jacket. As I carried them across a deck overlooking the water I dropped them and they sank to the bottom, I quickly reached for them and saved them from a watery demise.

The dreams followed a two day run of depression and negative self-talk.

While writing the dreams in my journal the fog of meaning started to clear and I jotted down the beginnings of my interpretation.

“Innocence: The phenomenon of seeing without judgment, notions, bias, or to see purely i.e. to take something in without changing it or “adulterating” it. I have lost this reality and want ever so badly to recapture it, to make it my own again. It made sense to me a sense that adulthood has never made.

The world of imagination (a child’s world) captures my heart and holds it with far more interest than anything the material world of the adult has to offer. The imaginal feeds, the material does not. The material leaves me empty no matter how much I have, unfulfilled, and un-nurtured.

This is also the message of the “Blue Fresco”  dream a number of years ago where I first met a Spirit Guide, Sophia, who invited me to leave behind the adult world that is so very childish in its pursuits and follow a path of my own. Basically she gently admonished me to stop trying to get what will nurture from the material world. It cannot fulfill or nourish what is truly important in and to me.

I have been acting as though I am my thoughts rather than being that which thinks.

The dream where I drop the books into the water may also be an encouragement to stop looking to the material world for my satisfaction, soul, or sense of being.

The answer i.e. “Hope” for me is only to be found in the intuitive, imaginal, mystical, and spiritual realm. As with the “Blue Fresco” dream these dreams remind me to leave behind my childish search for acknowledgment in the material world because it’s not there.

The “Retrieval” aspect of both dreams seems to be speaking to a transformation of thinking metaphor suggesting a need to transform my current negative inner narrative in order to save me. I need to reach into the primal waters and pull myself out. The drowning book in the second dream may also represent the rigid intellect being drowned but allowing the creative to be saved. The inner self desires to be free. It may be my only “Hope”. By continually looking for rigid intellectual “consensus reality” I will always be drowning and stifled. I need to reach into the deep dark waters and save myself.”

A Scrying mirror to the soul

IMG_3024.JPGSitting outside one morning watching the sun rise above the hills of the Colonial Valley and sipping from a cup of coffee cradled between my hands and warming the air around and within I looked down into the cup of dark liquid and this came to mind…

__________________

A shadowy and bitter brew somehow satisfying some hidden emotional need.

In its liquid darkness the Daimon hid and waited to spring forward on my not fully awake soul and wrestle me to the ground demanding that I pay attention. With the next sip I paused to look inward and again found the other self.

Reflections from the dark mirror within the cup transformed into intuitive murmurs and visions from the unconscious like Scrying mirror images from the imaginal.

Suddenly, as these things always seem to come, the quiet turned to tension and I knew that it was time again to get up and confront the Daimon.

Demon visitors to dreams

 

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“Is the devil invading my dreams?” has been a worry communicated by several dreamers over the years. My likely response was always to deal with the symbolic meaning of the devil or demon mainly because each of us create our own demonic forms based on our cultural, religious, and familial influences. Though this little devil will show up in many forms his existence is an archetype from the collective unconscious of humankind meaning that it resides within the universal psyche as an expression of the antithetical and contrasted phenomena that create the reality that we see.

For example, for something to be experienced as being “good” requires a definition or experience of something being “bad”, female requires male, up needs a down, positive requires a negative, and right needs a left.

Ultimately it is Death that gives meaning to Life and vice versa. Generally speaking it’s our polar opposites that create and inform the reality that we see. It’s fundamentally this  conflict that we struggle with that enriches the experience of reality that we create.

When this contrary little demon shows up in a dream it is usually there to point out a conundrum, a paradox, an unattended to contradiction, something denied, rejected, or repressed that is causing us discomfort or driving inappropriate behaviors. Just as with all the other archetypal images the demons are there for our health and well being.

The Devil in a dream can represent our struggle with our basic urges, that which pulls us down. He (or she) can represent our fears, negative aspects and limitations though it can also represent cunning, cleverness and deception. If the devil is talking to you it can suggest that you might you be worried that certain temptations are becoming hard to resist. If you’re friendly with the devil perhaps you are talking yourself or allowing someone to talk you into something that you really don’t want to do. Dealing with the devil or a demon in any way within a dream may reflect your need to deal with an issue of morality in your waking life.

When a demon shows up as Satan itself it can be about things in the inner and outer world that you may fear or you think are out of your control. This can represent something or someone adversarial or confrontational as in an attacker or accuser or just someone critical of you or your work. Frequently people invoke this image and project it onto other people so as to justify hurting them. This happens in all wars or when one takes sides in a political controversy.

Sometimes people experience being possessed by some demon in their dreams. Being possessed is also an archetype and over the centuries people from all cultures would employ priests or shaman, even lay mediums to exorcize an individual’s devil that has “possessed” them. Today we’re more likely to consult a therapist.

But even now the old version of the primitive possessor demon lives within an unexplored psychic phenomena and acts out behaviors that are contrary to a person’s best interest. One only needs to look at how many so-called fearful “conservatives” will vote for the very issues and people that only mean them harm, directly or indirectly, to see the truth of that statement.

All too often when we deny our complexes1, our worries, and repressed fears and emotions our demons so to speak, can possess us, in that we allow another force and energy to take over our lives, both internally and externally.

But sometimes he’s just there to show us some clarity on what is good.

_____________________

1 Complex: A pattern of emotions, perceptions, wishes, or memories in our Personal Unconscious. Some of these patterns can manifest themselves somatically i.e. through the body.

Severely negative and untreated or denied emotional patterns can lead to neuroses such as obsessive-compulsive disorders including perfectionism or poor impulse control or extremely low feelings of self-worth. Both Jung and Freud thought that these unconscious patterns were the most important factors influencing our waking behaviors and attitudes.

Hate stalks us all, when it finds you look around for the light.

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“Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along.”

–Rumi

The corollary to the above quote might be ‘Those we hate don’t just come along, they’ve been in us all along’.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it,”

–Rumi

Love will find you if you’re open to it. It’s who you are basically.

“What you seek is seeking you.”

–Rumi

This is I believe true whether it’s love or hate that you are looking for. Hate is just the absence of love, an absence that isn’t really missing, just hidden and unacknowledged.

It’s your choice– hate is that which disturbs the body, the mind, the soul, ones peace and sense of safety. Hate causes muscles to ache, teeth to clinch and causes one to over inflate and feel helpless. It raises blood pressure to unhealthy levels, causes the mind to become irrational, adds unwanted weight and literally makes us sick physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hate disconnects us from each other and from our own soul.

Love, on the other hand, in the form of acceptance, compassion, giving, and understanding brings with it relaxation, calmness, peace of mind, insight, and a sense of belonging and purpose. Love enhances health and connectedness.

Hate, again, blurs vision and constricts life while love opens the eyes wide in awe.

Hate may make you believe that you are right, but love makes you feel that all is right in the world. One brings hope with it while the other feeds hopelessness.

Basically hate is small while love is big. As Rumi says, “Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

 In every soul there is both darkness and light and as Rumi also claimed “it is our wounds from the darkness that open us to the light” but only when we don’t become lost in the darkness and become blind.

Hate stalks us all, when it finds you look around for the light.